Double Blind Study out on Pregabalin in Central Pain

Here are the results of the first really double blind study on pregabalin in central pain. The results are encouraging.

Phil Siddall is both a gentleman and a scholar. He is also a world class pain researcher and clinician and part of Australia’s brain trust in central pain research. He is not known for overstating nor exaggerating, so we take with great interest a recently published study on pregabalin in central pain done at North Shore Hospital in Sydney.

See Siddall et al in Neurology. 2006 Nov 28;67(10):1792-800
“Pregabalin in central neuropathic pain associated with spinal cord injury: a placebo-controlled trial.”

The dosing was pregabalin 150-600 mg/day, usually twice per day, also with flexible dosing and with a placebo control.The study included, among other things, evaluation of sleep interference, mood, and the patient global measure of change. Using the analog scoring, those with SCI neuropathic pain scored 6.54 on average, the placebo group scored 6.73 (We bet they were ticked off when they got worse!) while the end point pain score on pregabalin was 4.62. This is not a cure, but gives some pretty good data to justify the costs of a pregabalin regimen. Typically it took three weeks to stabilize on the dose, in this study.

Somnolence (sleepiness) and dizziness, mostly transient, were the most frequent side effects. Sleep and anxiety were felt to have been improved. Whether at that point the somnolence is a side effect or benefit is a matter for debate.